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Directed by Peter Yates
USA 1974

 

In one of the best performances of his legendary career, Robert Mitchum plays small-time gunrunner Eddie “Fingers” Coyle in Peter Yates’s adaptation of George V. Higgins’s acclaimed novel The Friends of Eddie Coyle. World-weary and living hand to mouth, Coyle works on the sidelines of the seedy Boston underworld just to make ends meet. But when he finds himself facing a second stretch of hard time, he’s forced to weigh loyalty to his criminal colleagues against snitching to stay free. Directed with a sharp eye for its gritty locales and an open heart for its less-than-heroic characters, this is one of the true treasures of 1970s Hollywood filmmaking—a suspenseful crime drama in stark, unforgiving daylight.

Posters

Theatrical Release: June 26th, 1973

Reviews                                                                    More Reviews                                                           DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray vs. Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC LEFT

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray  RIGHT

 

Box Covers

  

  

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine #475 - Region 1 - NTSC Criterion Collection - Spine # 475 - Region 'A' Blu-ray Masters of Cinema - Spine # 121
Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:42:06  1:42:15.712  1:42:07.162  
Video 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 8.78 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s   

Disc Size: 30,492,720,918 bytes

Feature Size: 30,179,026,944 bytes

Total Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 Video

Disc Size: 47,540,556,153 bytes

Feature Size: 29,880,444,288 bytes

Total Bitrate: 34.92 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Bitrate: Criterion Blu-ray

Bitrate: Masters of Cinema Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0)  LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Subtitles English, None English (SDH), None English (SDH), None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1

Edition Details:

• Audio commentary featuring Yates
• Stills gallery
•  42-page liner notes booklet featuring a new essay by film critic Kent Jones and a 1973 on-set profile of Robert Mitchum from Rolling Stone 

DVD Release Date: May 19th, 2009

Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 27

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

 

Disc Size: 30,492,720,918 bytes

Feature Size: 30,179,026,944 bytes

Total Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 Video

 

Edition Details:
• Audio commentary featuring Yates
• Stills gallery
•  An essay by critic Kent Jones and a 1973 on-set profile of actor Robert Mitchum from Rolling Stone

 

Blu-ray Release Date: April 28th, 2015
Transparent Blu-ray case

Chapters 26

Release Information:
Studio:
Masters of Cinema

 

Disc Size: 47,540,556,153 bytes

Feature Size: 29,880,444,288 bytes

Total Bitrate: 34.92 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 Video

 

Edition Details:
• A new video appreciation of the film by critic Glenn Kenny (22:18)
• A 1996 career-spanning on-stage interview with Peter Yates hosted by critic Derek Malcolm (1:17:12)
• 44-PAGE BOOKLET featuring a new essay on the film by critic Mike Sutton; an extensive interview with Yates, and archival images

 

Blu-ray Release Date: January 18th, 2016
Transparent Blu-ray case

Chapters 7

 

 

 

Comments:
NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray (January 2016): I thought there might be some slight differences in-motion with the Criterion, but if there are I'm not picking it up. The video transfers are both max'ed out and look excellent supporting the film's textures and colors. s

Masters of Cinema utilize a linear PCM 2.0 channel track at a healthy 2304 kbps (24-bit). It sounds marginally more robust than the Criterion - notable in Dave Grusin's (The Front, ...And Justice For All, 3 Days of the Condor) score that sounds tight and atmospheric via the lossless track. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles and the disc is region 'B'-locked.

Masters of Cinema add a new, 22-minute, video appreciation of the film by critic Glenn Kenny, filmed in NY 2015, who discusses the book, the film's glamour-less aura, how well it holds up, and details on the production. It's very good and worth indulging. They also add a 1 1/4 hour, 1996, career-spanning, on-stage, interview at the NFT with Peter Yates hosted by critic Derek Malcolm which is quite interesting if you watch it all. I learned a lot. The package has a 44-page liner notes booklet featuring a new essay on the film by critic Mike Sutton; an extensive interview with Yates, and archival images.

The film is becoming a favorite - my esteem for Mitchum grows every time I watch The Friends of Eddie Coyle and there is so much I love about this. It's brilliant and Region 'B'-locked audiences should snap this up. A very strong recommendation!

***

ADDITION: Criterion Region 'A' Blu-ray: April 2015: You can see the improvement of the higher resolution in the screen captures below. Flesh tones warm, detail rises and there is a sense of depth. This look far more like 'film' than 'video' now. The noise present in the SD is now gone and the image looks great in-motion. It is on a dual-layered Blu-ray disc with a max'ed out bitrate.

Criterion use a linear PCM monaural transfer that sounds authentic and has more depth than their 2009 DVD.  There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

Extras mimic the DVD with the commentary from director Peter Yates, the Still Gallery and some liner notes with an essay by critic Kent Jones and a 1973 on-set profile of actor Robert Mitchum from Rolling Stone

I've seen this a couple of times before but the Criterion Blu-ray gives, by far, the best presentation. Even considering Mitchum's iconic career - this is possibly his best role ever and Yates subdued direction let's the aged star's value run right through the potent narrative. This film and Blu-ray disc are strongly recommended.

***

ON THE DVD: The Criterion restoration looks pretty solid. It is touted as 'director approved' and it looks quite excellent aside from some very minor noise. Expectantly it is dual-layered, progressive and anamorphic in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Detail is impressive in close-ups and I can even see some fine grain. I can't imagine it looking much better on the DVD format.

Audio is mono but consistent and clear. There are, as always, optional English subtitles.

Extras reside almost solely on the doorstep of the Yates (Bullitt fame) commentary. There are gaps but having the director discuss his film makes for the most informative film discussions. It encourages further appreciation - not that I needed much more. There is a short gallery of behind the scenes photos - mostly of Mitchum. Criterion have included a healthy liner notes booklet (42 pages long) with photos and new essay by film critic Kent Jones and a 1973 on-set profile of Robert Mitchum from Rolling Stone.       

Gary W. Tooze

 


Menus

 

1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC LEFT

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

 

Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 

 

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray  Subtitle Sample

 

 

1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray  BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray  BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray  BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 


Box Covers

  

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine #475 - Region 1 - NTSC Criterion Collection - Spine # 475 - Region 'A' Blu-ray Masters of Cinema - Spine # 121
Region 'B' - Blu-ray



 


 

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Gary Tooze

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